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Context, Paradigms, Perspective, and other Big Words.

Context is a fun concept.  Really, I've gone drinking with him before.

I'm not here to open a discussion on "best player available" versus "Needs based drafting".  What I want to do is paint a picture to make a point.

I'm doing this because folks differ on certain arguments, but go right past each other and miss context.  Let me explain:

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If I were a humanitarian, I would say an event that cost the lives of tens or hundreds of thousands of men was a disaster.  If I were a military historian, I might say that the D-Day landings in Normandy were a total victory.  The same event, but two different views.  And both views are correct.

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If you have a meal in mind, you go to the grocery store and buy the ingredients for the meal you want. Congratulations! You got the meal you wanted (though the ingredients may or may not turn out to be the best).

But here’s how I grocery shop. I go to my local grocer, and buy only the best ingredients out there, regardless of meal. I’ve been doing this for years (and this is how many chefs approach shopping). Do I have the specific dinner I wanted? Maybe, maybe not. But I have several advantages that you don’t. I have only the best ingredients (you might or might not), and I have several meals to choose from.

My way isn't right or wrong.  It works (as does your way).  But don't come to my place complaining that you can't have a hamburger.  Not when I'm running the most expensive seafood restaraunt in town.

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You may be a great French author (say, a young Victor Hugo). I grade your paper in an English class. I give you an “F” because your paper was in French. Fine. But this is a French paper submitted in a French class.  Should it receive an "F" because it should be viewed in an English context?

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An umpire declares my team a loser because my team didn't score any home runs.  The problem is, we're playing football.  A referee would call my 32 - 10 game a win.

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This brings me to how to evaluate a draft.  If a team isn't even trying to get players for a certain position, it's kind of odd to criticize the team for not getting who you wanted.  Conversely, If a team is trying to fill a certain position, it is also bizzare to down grade the team because a better player was not picked.

I recently wrote an article that explained that the draft made no sense to me.  I liked the two early picks as players, but didn't think our needs were being addressed.  When the 3rd and 4th picks rolled around, I realized I had been judging the draft the way a baseball umpire refs a football game...  the wrong context.  So I started looking at the draft the other way.  I looked at it the way a math teacher grades a math exam, not how a math teacher grades an English paper.  The draft became clear, and it then made sense. 

I now understood that the Broncos weren't even trying to score points by getting particular players for particular positions.  They took a different approach entirely.  When properly graded, it would be hard to give them a bad score.

I read the recent Horse Tracks at MHR.  Many of the old media sports reporters are calling the Invasion of Normandy a failure (and they aren't writing from the German perspective).  The funny part is that they agree that the players are very good.

From MHR member ChiBronx comes this funny and proper response:

Every Pan I Read Makes Me Feel Better

To say somebody drafted good players and give them a grade of D is pundit villager thinking at its best. I absolutely love that all of the criticisms of the Broncos’ draft cite the good talent they got. If only I could fail so wonderfully in life.

AnotherNYCbroncofan adds this insightful point (Bolding is my highlight):

I'm with you...

I don’t know why, but I still catch myself every year looking to the national pundits for their “analysis” of the Broncos’ drafts. They rarely seem to have done any significant research on the team and they always put things in terms of filling holes or team needs…. Their grades usually just reflect the conventional wisdom about the team’s needs without applying any of the particulars or digging deeper into the meaning behind the picks. The various posts and comments here on MHR have done a much better job of pointing to and exploring other factors such as special teams, longevity of current starters, schemes, and overall philosophical approaches that can also influence the team’s draft.

Look.  Sharp minds can call this draft a good one or a bad one for Denver.  But the funny part is, many of the people critical of the draft are trying to couch the draft in terms of need, and then complain that their favorite player wasn't selected.  A great example is Raji.  Every NFL team passed on him in the first.

The funny thing is, if you are complaining about the draft because you didn't get who you wanted, I agree with you!  I also think you are missing the point.  We weren't even trying to get the players that you and I wanted!  That wasn't our goal (just like you don't score home runs in a football game, and you don't complain about the lack of pork at a Jewish deli).

We got what the team wanted, not what you and I wanted.  When you get that, it really makes it hard to have a good argument against this draft.  I offered some arguments against our own draft in my article (that some folks may have missed).  Why take an OG that doesn't look like a good zoneblocker for our system?  Why take a safety who wasn't (perhaps) the BPA?  Folks had good answers for the safety (good special teams fit / perhaps underrated), and not many for the OG.

But I couched those arguments in the proper context.

Now, did we get good players?  Argue that.  Todd will disagree, especialy when it comes to character.  From Todd Jewell:

I love this part!

http://www.denverbroncos.com/page.php?id=334&storyID=9003 — almost every individual paragraph about the pickups:
  “Team Leader”, “team captain”, “team captain”, “ex-marine”[team player imho], “all time leader”, “named after rulon jones” — sorry that last one just made me chuckle =)

For player ability, I'll let my previous article speak for itself.

Denver fans, last year's ('08) draft was a best player draft.  I remember the kool aid crowd loving every player (they were each good players, so of course).  The doom and gloomers complained that Royal (and others) were not needed.  In fact, there were even some "skilled position or bust" folks who didn't like taking an offensive lineman with our top pick.  It was one of the best drafts Denver has had in recent years.

This year in terms of "need", I agree that the draft didn't get the results folks wanted.  I'M a needs guy, and I very much wanted a NT.  At the same time, I was a needs guy last year, and didn't understand the Royal pick at WR.  (We had a lot of great players, right?  Colbert, Jackson, Marshall....)  Why bring in Royal?  A lot of us needs guy were wrong (thank God).

The argument (in a context of BPA) is "Did we get good players?" - I believe that we did.  The argument (in a context of Need) is "Did I get who I wanted?" - The answer is no.

The real argument is "Are we now a better team?"  I think we are.

Back to the grocery shopping example:

If you have a meal in mind, you go to the grocery store and buy the ingredients for the meal you want. Congratulations! You got the meal you wanted (though the ingredients may or may not turn out to be the best).

But here’s how I grocery shop. I go to my local grocer, and buy only the best ingredients out there, regardless of meal. I’ve been doing this for years (and this is how many chefs approach shopping). Do I have the specific dinner I wanted? Maybe, maybe not. But I have several advantages that you don’t. I have only the best ingredients (you might or might not), and I have several meals to choose from.

This is what recently happened in NE. Brady got injured. But a QB who hadn’t played a down of football since HS was able to step in without the team missing a beat. Why? Because he was surrounded by – the best players available.

This is a Fan-Created Comment on MileHighReport.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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